- (Public Value) UCANR: Protecting California's natural resources
Richard Rosenberg, former chairman and CEO of the Bank of America, died Friday, March 3. He was 92. When Rosenberg retired from BofA in 1996, the bank honored him by endowing the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy at UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources:
“Dick Rosenberg is well-known for his generous gifts to the University of California and to the Bay Area. With his Bank of America endowment gift to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources to create the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, he has had the most far-reaching and profound impact. Over the years, Dick developed an understanding of the complex and contentious water issues in California and across the globe. His intent in bringing together scientists and policymakers from around the world to discuss water management was to reduce conflicts surrounding this critical resource. While we continue to face challenges of water scarcity and water quality, we are able to solve some issues by sharing our knowledge and experiences. For years to come, the global community will benefit from Dick Rosenberg's foresight to fund the International Forum on Water Policy.”
Soroosh Sorooshian, UC Irvine Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing and chair of the UC ANR Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy:
“Mr. Richard Rosenberg was passionate about the well-being of the environment in addition to his responsibilities managing one of the largest financial institutions in the world. His concern about water resources scarcity and international water conflicts led to the establishment of the UC ANR Rosenberg International Forum for Water Policy with an endowment gift from the Bank of America to honor Dick's vision. It is a great honor for the forum to carry the vision of Mr. Rosenberg as a lasting legacy to his commitment to issues related to international water policy.”
Henry Vaux, Jr., UC Riverside Professor Emeritus, UC ANR Associate Vice President Emeritus, and Founding Chair of Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy
Richard Rosenberg made many contributions to the well-being of all Californians. Among those was the rallying of the business community to the cause of managing an earlier severe drought that began in the late 1980s. This expression of his long term-interests in the management of water resources led the Board of the Bank of American to establish the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy at the University of California in his honor. Over the years, that Forum has met at 10 locations around the world, often with Rosenberg himself in attendance. The work of the Forum has influenced water policy in countries ranging from Australia to Jordan. As a founding chair of the Forum, I can attest to the crucial role that he played in guiding the establishment of the institution and ensuring its success over two and a half decades. I will miss his wise counsel, sharp insights on almost everything and his great sense of humor. I send my condolences and best wishes to his wife, Barbara, and his family.
About the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy
The Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy originated in 1996 with an endowment gift from the Bank of America to the University of California. The purpose of the gift was to support a water policy forum in honor of then-retiring Bank Chair and Chief Executive Officer Richard Rosenberg. Rosenberg had a long-term interest in water resources and was credited with rallying the California business community to address the causes and impacts of the drought of 1987-1992.
The Rosenberg Forum is held every other year in different locations around the world. Participation is limited to 50 water scholars and senior water managers. Interactive discussions about the science of water management and different experiences in water management around the globe are at the heart of the forum.
The first forum was held in San Francisco in 1997, followed by gatherings in Barcelona, Spain; Canberra, Australia; Ankara, Turkey; Banff, Canada; Zaragoza, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Aqaba, Jordan; and Panama City, Panama. The last forum was held in San Jose, California, in 2018 and has been on hiatus due to the pandemic.
The overarching theme of the Rosenberg Forum is "reducing conflict in the management of water resources." Specific sub-themes are chosen by an advisory committee for each individual forum. The primary objective is to facilitate the exchange of information and experience in the management of water resources.
The problems of managing water are surprisingly common around the world. However, approaches and solutions may differ depending on the available financial resources as well as social and cultural norms. Discussions of alternative approaches and identification of what works and what doesn't are intended to aid in devising more effective and efficient water-management schemes.
Porse has built an outstanding career in water as a research engineer with the Office of Water Programs at California State University, Sacramento and an assistant adjunct professor with UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. His research focuses on urban and water resources management. He specializes in bringing together interdisciplinary teams to investigate complex environmental management questions.
Porse earned a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering (water resources) from UC Davis and a master's degree in public policy (science and technology) from George Mason University. His professional experience includes international work and teaching in Mexico, Europe, Japan and East Africa. He has authored over 50 reports and peer-reviewed articles.
“UC ANR is fortunate to have a director with broad professional experience in science and policy at the United Nations, the U.S. government, private sector firms and research laboratories,” said Deanne Meyer, UC ANR interim associate vice president for programs and strategic initiatives. “Erik's recent research has collaborated with scientists and projects addressing priority areas in the California Water Resilience Portfolio, including safe drinking water, efficient urban water use, sustainable groundwater management, water reuse, beneficial uses of stormwater, and environmental finance.”
The CIWR is the California hub of the national network of water research institutes supported by the federal Water Resources Research Act of 1964 and provides and communicates solutions to complex water issues and will serve a critical role to support applied water research that tackles large problems with systems approaches, including groundwater recharge, water rights, irrigation management, water finance, and drinking water access. The CIWR works with scientists throughout California as well as through the national network to bring defensible solutions and alternatives to California's water management community.
“Water is a necessity for life and management of water is essential for California's economy and prosperity,” Meyer said. “Porse's leadership with multidisciplinary research teams, water policy research, and integrated systems modeling will serve the CIWR and ANR for years to come.”
Porse succeeds Doug Parker, who retired in 2022 after 11 years as CIWR director.
Daniel Munk, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor, retired from a 36-year career with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources on July 1.
“Dan has played a pivotal role in the success of cotton that has been grown in California, especially his work on drought-related growing conditions and how best for cotton to overcome those conditions and thrive,” said Roger Isom, president and CEO of California Cotton Ginner & Growers Association and Western Agricultural Processors Association in Fresno.
“And while I know he has been involved most recently in reduced tillage research, it is his irrigation work that he will be remembered for,” Isom said. “Dan put on numerous irrigation workshops and grower meetings over the years, and he was the cotton industry's ‘go to guy' on deficit irrigation and related topics.”
As a youngster, the Bay Area native was interested in the natural sciences so he earned a B.S. in soil and water science and an M.S. in soil science from UC Davis.
In 1990, he became a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Fresno County.
“Dan has been helpful,” said John Diener, a Five Points farmer who began working with Munk in the 1990s. “If I needed anything, he was helpful, bringing information like for lygus bug or diseases or new varieties.”
To solve a salinity problem, Diener consulted Munk. “Dan was an irrigation guy and worked with USDA ARS and NRCS. This was bigger than what a local farmer can do,” Diener said, adding that Munk brought UC technical knowledge and resources from USDA Agricultural Research Service and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to the West Side of Fresno County to build a tile system for managing the salinity in drainage water. “It took a whole group of people to make it happen,” Diener said.
When Munk joined UC Cooperative Extension, California was growing over 1 million acres of cotton, mostly Acala varieties. During the state's six years of drought spanning the 1980s and 1990s, growers began planting the higher priced extra-long staple Pima cotton varieties instead of Upland cotton types.
In response, Munk began studying ways to improve irrigation management for Pima cotton. He and colleagues also studied plant growth regulators and found that by treating vigorously growing Pima cotton plants with plant growth regulators following first bloom, cotton yields improved by 60 to 120 pounds per acre, which translated to a $50 to $100 per-acre increase in crop value, with higher cotton quality and fewer problems with defoliation.
As water became increasingly limited in California, the state's cotton acreage plummeted and Munk turned his research to producing crops with less water using reduced tillage systems. In one study, he and his research collaborators found that they could improve water use efficiency by 37% by growing cotton in wheat residue versus conventional tillage. In other research, Munk and colleagues showed that reduced till cotton systems could reduce fuel use by more than 70%, increase soil carbon by more than 20%, and reduce dust emissions by more than 60%, relative to conventional till approaches. Another of Munk's projects suggests that garbanzos and sorghum can be grown under no-till practices in the San Joaquin Valley without loss of yield.
“He has also been helpful in issues related to nitrogen uptake and air and water quality,” Isom said.
Because of Munk's expertise in nutrient and water management practices, he was asked to serve on the state's Agricultural Expert Panel in 2014 to assess agricultural nitrate control programs. They developed recommendations for the State Water Resources Control Board to protect groundwater.
One of the recommendations was to develop a comprehensive and sustained educational and outreach program. As a result, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and UC California Institute for Water Resources created the Irrigation and Nitrogen Management Training Program, for which Munk helped develop curriculum and train growers and farm consultants on best farm practices for nitrogen and water management. Leading the program's southern San Joaquin Valley courses, he helped certify more than 300 growers, consultants and farm advisors in protecting groundwater.
“I hope these more recent programs will have lasting impacts on farm economic viability and improved groundwater quality,” Munk said.
The farm advisor also extended his irrigation knowledge beyond farms. Working with fellow UCCE advisors and specialists, Munk conducted hands-on training for school landscape staff in 2012-2013. The staff learned how to measure irrigation output, sample soil and manage water to avoid runoff and improve water quality.
“He has had a huge impact, and his work will remain instrumental in the cotton industry's survival in California as we deal with ongoing drought issues,” Isom said. “His departure will leave an empty spot in the cotton world today without a doubt!”
- Author: Kara Manke, firstname.lastname@example.org
The gift, the largest donation ever received by the college and the largest naming gift of any academic unit at UC Berkeley, will support the school's land-grant mission to take on key economic, social, environmental and health challenges facing the state and the nation. Major initiatives led by the college include mitigating and adapting to climate change, accelerating the clean energy transition and improving food security and nutrition for all.
“The state of California, and the nation as a whole, face enormous environmental risks today that didn't exist 20 years ago, and we as a society haven't found the will to address them squarely,” Rausser said. “Rausser College has some of the best economists in the world and some of the best scientists in the world, and by working together, as they must, they uniquely position the college to provide not only the fundamental science, but also the practical solutions, needed to tackle these challenges.”
Rausser's gift is a major component of UC Berkeley's landmark $6 billion “Light the Way” fundraising campaign, which officially launched Saturday, Feb. 29th.
“Gordon Rausser's incredible contribution of his own personal resources to support the mission of UC Berkeley and Rausser College is an unparalleled vote of confidence in the college, the university and our mission,” said Chancellor Carol Christ. “Gordon's legacy of outstanding leadership at the college in and of itself left an indelible mark on our campus and community. His willingness and ability to now provide a strong financial foundation for the college's future is a contribution whose true value is beyond measure.”
The majority of the funds will create an unrestricted endowment that can be used at the direction of the dean, in consultation with faculty leadership, to support a variety of needs across the college's five departments — from supporting graduate students to launching new interdisciplinary research programs.
In addition, a portion of the gift will be used to establish the Gordon Rausser Endowed Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, where Rausser served for over four decades. Another portion will help set up a Rausser-Zilberman Program Endowed Fund for the Master of Development Practice (MDP) Program, which will support students, curriculum enhancements and field opportunities abroad.
“An endowment gift of this size and nature provides the college with a permanent funding source that will fuel innovation and creativity, enhance the quality of our programs and help us stay competitive — it is truly extraordinary,” said David Ackerly, dean of Rausser College. “We will invest in graduate student support to recruit and train the world's best scholars and support innovative interdisciplinary research to tackle major problems at the state, national and global levels.”
Other priorities include faculty recruitment and retention, equity and inclusion programs and curriculum innovations, Ackerly said.
More than 40 years of commitment to Berkeley
Rausser first joined the Berkeley faculty in 1978 after leaving his faculty position at Harvard University. He went on to serve as chair of the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics on three separate occasions before being appointed dean of the College of Natural Resources in 1994. As dean, Rausser oversaw a massive expansion and reorganization of the college, growing the number of faculty at the college by approximately 20%.
Rausser foresaw the need to increase the college's fundraising enterprise, and under his leadership the college greatly expanded its philanthropic activity. During his time as dean he worked in partnership with the alumni community to create eight new faculty endowed chairs. Today, these endowed chairs are a crucial tool for recruiting and retaining the highest-quality faculty. He also spearheaded the Berkeley-Novartis Agreement, a creative research and development agreement between the College's Department of Plant and Microbial Biology and the Novartis Agricultural Discovery Institute to advance fundamental research in plant biology and genomics. The Berkeley-Novartis Agreement was novel at the time and laid the groundwork for future public private partnerships.
Outside of Berkeley, Rausser has distinguished himself as an economic and policy adviser to the U.S. government and the state of California, as a business consultant and venture capitalist and an entrepreneur. While on academic leave, he served as senior economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisors (1986-1987) under Ronald Reagan and subsequently became chief economist of the U.S. Agency for International Development (1988-1990). His accomplishments also include co-founding Emeryville-based OnPoint Analytics, which provides business consulting services specializing in expert testimony in economics, data analytics, finance and statistics, and co-founding with Berkeley colleagues the Law and Economics Consulting Group.
He is the recipient of 29 academic research, teaching and leadership awards. The most recent of which is having his professional society — the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) — honor his work by naming the conference keynote, in perpetuity, in recognition of his lifetime research achievements and exceptional intellectual leadership of the profession. The first Rausser Keynote address will take place this year at the AAEA annual society meetings.
Rausser said the gift is a continuation of his more than 40-year commitment to the campus and its public mission — and that his success as a business leader and entrepreneur enabled him to make it happen.
“Personally, I can think of no institution in California that's had a greater impact on our past, or has a greater power to shape our future, than Berkeley has, and I take great pride in the fact that Rausser College is one of the cornerstones of this remarkable institution,” Rausser said. “I know what the college is capable of, given the right resources, and I want to ensure that the college achieves an unparalleled level of excellence.”/h3>